Christine Cserti-Gazdewich completed her training in internal medicine and hematology in Toronto, followed by a fellowship in transfusion medicine at the Harvard Joint Program in Boston.
She has worked in Toronto since her return in October 2006, and at the University Health Network, she serves primarily as a transfusion medicine specialist with a cross-appointment as a clinical haematologist (outpatient clinics, inpatient consults, & apheresis).
Professional activities focus on transfusion immunohematology and hemovigilance locally, with interests in the hematology and hemotherapy of malaria and/or severe anemia in less developed regions.
Through the Laboratory Medicine Program, she and her transfusion medicine colleagues from the UHN and Sunnybrook also serve as remote medical directors to a number of hospitals (32 medical outposts with 22 performing transfusion care through 11 transfusion medicine laboratories).
Research interests include the following:
1. Clinical immunohematology and transfusion laboratory serology
a. immunocytopenias, complex antibody profiles, blood group genetics/evolution
b. hemovigilance, emphasizing non-infectious hazards
c. transplant-related immunopathologies
2. Hemotherapy in austere conditions
a. less resourced settings (sub-Saharan Africa, northern Ontario First Nations)
b. prohibitive factors (immunologic risks)
The Blood Transfusion Laboratory of the Universal Health Network
The Blood Transfusion Laboratory (BTL) of the University Health Network is one of the nation's largest hospital transfusion services, with a staff of 60 working together to issue nearly 100,000 products last year alone (60,000 components [35,000 pRBC, 9000 adult dose platelet concentrates, 11,500 plasma units, >4000 cryoprecipitates]; and 30,000 derivatives [IVIG, albumin, PCC, other coagulation factors]).
We serve major critical care and general medicine units at Toronto General & Western; hematology/oncology patients at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (and its Blood & Marrow Transplant Program); the Multi-Organ Transplant Program, the Red Cell Disorders Program, & the Apheresis Program at Toronto General; as well as the Arthritis (Rheumatology/Orthopedics) and Krembil Neuroscience Program at Toronto Western.
Challenging patients (with high demands at a given acute or chronic expanse of time) often present additional hurdles by their immune sensitization to blood factors in 3% of cases, necessitating special investigations, rare phenotype blood procurement, and objective assurances of compatibility. High volume activities permit (and demand) assiduous hemovigilance.
Operational excellence is our mandate, with a number of robust internal stakeholder structures (the Hospital Transfusion Committee, with the Safe Transfusion Practices and Surgical Blood Management sub-Committees). Our external assessors (from obligatory to voluntary accreditation bodies [eg. College of American Pathologists/American Association of Blood Banks]) contribute to our continuous quality improvement and accountability from the bench to the bedside.
In addition to the UHN BTL, medical directorship guidance is provided through a shared care model with the Sunnybrook (SBK) Blood Bank, extending out to Lakeridge Health Sciences (4 sites), the Sault Area Hospital, the Timmins and District Hospitals (10 sites), and the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (6 sites, representing Ontario's northernmost healthcare facilities).
The allied transfusion medicine specialists of UHN and SBK (Drs Jeannie Callum, Jacob Pendergrast, Christine Cserti-Gazdewich, Yulia Lin, and Lani Lieberman) strive to advance clinical transfusion care by their collective research efforts in the QUEST Study Group (emphasizing Quality-Utilization-Efficacy-&-Safety of Transfusion).